A plumbing emergency is usually defined as a situation where water, sewage or gas is leaking into your home. When this happens, it is important to shut the supply lines off as quickly as possible. When water is leaking it can cause huge damage to your property if left unfixed. Gas leaks obviously pose a higher risk for safety either because of poisoning or issues of flammable ignition. Sewage can cause major issues in your home or business from health concerns to costly restoration expenses.
Emergency kits for home and business owners
We always recommend that you have tools that will allow you to stop the problem until a professional can come replace and repair your broken pipes. Below is a list of items that you can get at any hardware store should you not have them already on your property.
- A 5-gallon bucket – This can be used for storage of your tools when not in use and can be used to collect water as it is leaking before your water has been shut off.
- Allen keys and wrenches – Often you will need to tighten or adjust a nut, bolt or joint. To adequately apply the necessary torque, you will need to use hand tools.
- Duct tape or waterproof tape – In a pinch, you can use duct tape or waterproof tape to repair a leak until a professional can replace the pipe. Make sure you have properly dried the pipe before applying tape to ensure that the tape has properly adhered to the pipe.
- Heavy duty paper towels or beach towels – It is highly recommended that you have towels ready to go in case of a leak. Heavy duty paper towels can be used for minor messes and beach towels can be used to sop up larger leaks.
Steps to take if you are facing an emergency plumbing situation
Unless you have above average knowledge of plumbing or handyman experience it is always best to call an emergency plumbing company should you be faced with an uncontrollable leak. Below are some quick things you can do to stop damage from escalating.
- Shut off your water valve – If you notice a leak has sprung and you cannot find a shut-off valve on the pipe or appliance it is best to turn off your main water supply valve.
- Call a plumber right away – After you have prevented the leak from continuing we recommend that you call a pipe repair plumber right away. The sooner you call the sooner a professional can be on their way. Depending on the company and how busy they are you can usually get a plumber out the same day. In general calling early in the morning will put you higher in their dispatch list than people calling in the later afternoon.
- Turn off your water heater – After you have shut the main water valve in your home or business you are also going to want to shut off your water heater if the emergency is large enough. Doing so will help avoid damage to your water heater caused by the unit overheating or swelling up and bursting. If you have a gas water heater you are also going to want to shut off the gas and pilot.
- Locate your isolation valves – If you are certain that the leak is only happening in one area then you can shut off the isolation valve to that area or appliance. Doing this will turn off water service to that unit and allow you to turn the water back on for the rest of your home while the leak is being repaired.
- Relieve pressure and move water away from your property – If the leak happens outside of the winter months you can turn on your faucets outside to get water out of the pipes once the water has been shut off. You can also do this by running a faucet at the lowest point, usually a bathroom or sink in the basement. Turn on the water in the bathtub to remove any water trapped in your pipes to relieve pressure and reduce the risk of water leaking while you wait for the plumber to arrive.